This video features Jim jefferies, Louis ck, George carlin, Lewis Black & Bill burr. All the Greatest comedians express their views on Religion.
This video features Jim jefferies, Louis ck, George carlin, Lewis Black & Bill burr. All the Greatest comedians express their views on Religion.
If religion is an instinct, intelligence may help us rise above it, a new study finds.
For more than a millennium, scholars have noticed a curious correlation: Atheists tend to be more intelligent than religious people.
It’s unclear why this trend persists, but researchers of a new study have an idea: Religion is an instinct, they say, and people who can rise above instincts are more intelligent than those who rely on them.
“Intelligence — in rationally solving problems — can be understood as involving overcoming instinct and being intellectually curious and thus open to non-instinctive possibilities,” study lead author Edward Dutton, a research fellow at the Ulster Institute for Social Research in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. [Saint or Spiritual Slacker? Test Your Religious Knowledge]
In classical Greece and Rome, it was widely remarked that “fools” tended to be religious, while the “wise” were often skeptics, Dutton and his co-author, Dimitri Van der Linden, an assistant professor of psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, wrote in the study.
The ancients weren’t the only ones to notice this association. Scientists ran a meta-analysis of 63 studies and found that religious people tend to be less intelligent than nonreligious people. The association was stronger among college students and the general public than for those younger than college age, they found. The association was also stronger for religious beliefs, rather than religious behavior, according to the meta-analysis, published in 2013 in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.
But why does this association exist? Dutton set out to find answer, thinking that perhaps it was because nonreligious people were more rational than their religious brethren, and thus better able to reason that there was no God, he wrote.
But “more recently, I started to wonder if I’d got it wrong, actually,” Dutton told Live Science. “I found evidence that intelligence is positively associated with certain kinds of bias.”
For instance, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that college students often get logical answers wrong but don’t realize it. This so-called “bias blind spot” happens when people cannot detect bias, or flaws, within their own thinking. “If anything, a larger bias blind spot was associated with higher cognitive ability,” the researchers of the 2012 study wrote in the abstract.
One question, for example, asked the students: “A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?” The problem isn’t intuitive (the answer is not 10 cents), but rather requires students to suppress or evaluate the first solution that springs into their mind, the researchers wrote in the study. If they do this, they might find the right answer: The ball costs 5 cents, and the bat costs $1.05.
If intelligent people are less likely to perceive their own bias, that means they’re less rational in some respects, Dutton said. So why is intelligence associated with atheism? The answer, he and his colleague suggest, is that religion is an instinct, and it takes intelligence to overcome an instinct, Dutton said. [8 Ways Religion Impacts Your Life]
I disagree with Hawking: Humanity WILL destroy itself with nuclear weapons within the next 500 years. Give a boy a hammer…
Sounding like he just read the Book of Revelation for the first time, Professor Stephen Hawking issued dire warnings and predictions this week about the lifespan of the earth. However, it is not all doom and gloom. Hawking remains optimistic on the future of humanity.
In a prepared speech to the Oxford Union Debate Society Monday, Hawking reportedly stated humans have less than 1,000 years on earth and must find a suitable planet on which to relocate.
The Free Thought Project was able to confirm Hawking did indeed appear at Oxford, however, since the event was private, and no transcripts have yet been made available, we cannot confirm the statements Hawking made. But according to the U.K.’s Independent, the theoretical physicist stated it’s, “a glorious time to be alive and doing research in to theoretical physics.”
He stated, “Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last 50 years and I am happy if I have made a small contribution.
”The fact that we humans, who are ourselves mere fundamental particles of nature, have been able to come this close to understanding the laws that govern us and the universe is certainly a triumph.”
Due to advancements in universal mapping, Hawking apparently feels confident, “We will map the position of millions of galaxies with the help of [super] computers like Cosmos. We will better understand our place in the universe.”
“Perhaps one day we will be able to use gravitational waves to look right back into the heart of the Big Bang,” Hawking said in reference to his suspicion those waves will allow humans to look back in time.
He encouraged listeners, and those following the story, to “continue to go into space for the future of humanity,” adding, “I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”
He advised listeners to look beyond their earthly cares by saying, “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
Hawking’s comments have often been highly controversial. He once theorized that if humans ever met aliens, “I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans,” he stated implying humans would be destroyed.
Hawking’s most controversial statements, however, may be his recent comments on the existence of God. “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation,” he said. In his work, A Brief History of Time, the physicist made the statement mankind could eventually “know the mind of God.”
When pressed to explain, Hawking stated, “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.” Atheist or not, Hawking ironically shares something in common with believers of the Bible, they both believe the world will come to an end within at least a thousand years. The difference being Hawking believes it’s possible for mankind to shed its earthly dwelling, travel light years away from earth, and colonize an inhabitable world.
by: Amy Goodrich
June 19, 2016
(NaturalNews) A human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. affecting about 14 million people each year.
While most of these infections occur without any notable symptoms and usually go away within a day or two, some can persist for many years with cell damage as a result. If left untreated, this damage can lead to cervical cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in women under 35.
Over the years, HPV vaccines rapidly became part of the standard immunization protocol for teenagers between 13 and 26 years old. It is thought that vaccination programs can save almost half of the thousands of lives lost each year to cervical cancer.
While many newspapers and television stations worldwide consistently express their concern regarding the devastating health effects linked to these controversial vaccines, the U.S. media and officials keep suspiciously silent while mass inoculations proceed.
In 2015, the Daily Express[http://www.express.co.uk] reported that 8,228 teenagers had fallen seriously ill after taking the routine cervical cancer vaccination, leaving some of them wheelchair-bound.
Jackie Fletcher, of the pressure group Jabs said: “Previously fit and healthy young girls have developed seizures or viral fatigue, some have lost the ability to walk. And years on, some have still not recovered.”
Claire Knight, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, said: “If it were to be proven that the vaccine is linked to these illnesses in girls that would be a concern, but the vaccine has been rigorously tested in trials and shown to be safe.”
Apparently, these 8,228 adverse drug reactions do not seem to prove anything at all.
Earlier this year, the Asahi Shimbun [http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201603310068.html] reported that a group of young Japanese women is planning to sue the government and two drug companies over the debilitating side effects from approved HPV vaccines.
“The government in April 2013 recommended the vaccinations for sixth-graders through first-year high school students. But this recommendation was withdrawn two months later following a series of reports about serious health problems. By that time, an estimated 3.4 million women had been inoculated against cervical cancer. The ministry said it had received 2,700 reports about suspected side effects by the end of June 2015,” the newspaper reads.
“Shazel Zaman, 13, was suffering with a severe headache, vomiting and dizziness after having the HPV vaccine and her symptoms became so severe that her family took her to Fairfield Hospital in Bury. But the family claim that a doctor dismissed her condition was linked to the cervical cancer jab and sent her home citing a stomach bug. She was found collapsed and unconscious with no pulse an hour later at her home in Bury, and died in hospital four hours later.”
While the U.S. media keeps silent, more horrific reports about HPV vaccine damages and deaths are making the headlines in well-respected international media sources. In 2015, TV2, one of Denmark’s national television stations, aired a documentary (The Vaccinated Girls – Sick and Betrayed [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO2i-r39hok]) about the development of severe health issues after being vaccinated against HPV with Gardasil.
In Ireland, more than 200 teenagers developed “acute physical side-effects” after receiving the vaccine at their schools.
“My daughter was a very healthy, sporty outgoing active child until she received the Gardasil vaccine. Then her life changed dramatically, she started suffering from persistent pain, muscle pains, memory impairment, headaches, sore throats, joint and menstrual problems, seizures, auto immune illnesses, chronic fatigue and nose bleeds to name but a few… She said an urgent, independent and transparent investigation is needed and said the latest EMA report on Gardasil, which quotes its benefits, is flawed because many of its contributors had ‘huge ties to the pharmaceutical industry,” Susan Whitmore, from Castlebridge told Wexford People [http://www.wexfordpeople.ie].
The Japanese health ministry has previously warned against HPV vaccinations and European countries continue to re-evaluate their use. Nonetheless, U.S. ‘health’ officials keep promoting the vaccines while deliberately concealing the dangers. For many pharmaceutical companies, HPV vaccines are one of the biggest sources of their revenue. Merck reported $1.9 billion in Gardasil sales in 2015.
Jan 5, 2016
abound throughout the world, and dominate the mainstream teachings of organized religion. Religion has caused a lot of unnecessary pain to mankind, despite whatever truth and good intentions it has. Some of these dangerous religious beliefs fool you into thinking you can out-source your morality, ethics or spirituality to some external organization. Others prevent you from taking full responsibility for yourself and your actions, thus hindering you from stepping fully into your power. Still others goad you into a false sense of security where there is none. All of them limit you and the deeper realization of Who You Are. Additionally, all of them stem from the single fundamental delusion of separateness, i.e. that we are discrete and separate beings, that some people are better than others and that there is somewhere better you need to get to. An idea based on separateness leads to judgment and exclusion, and can never be as true and powerful as one based on connectedness. All of the following religious beliefs are disempowering obstacles in the way of true freedom.
You may think that believing silly things is harmless. They can be, but they can also have serious ramifications. Remember Voltaire’s quote in the image to the left: “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” If you can convince people to follow you or your group, and that they will get rewarded in some way by doing this (e.g. get to Heaven, get fame, money, sex, knowledge or power, receive safety and security, etc.), you are well on your way to getting them to commit acts of unconsciousness. Next comes tests of loyalty: will they lie for you? Will they cover up for you? Will they cheat for you? Will they die or kill for you? Believing silly, foolish or absurd ideas can have horrible consequences. If you can’t tell truth from lies, you pave the way for corrupt people to seize power, manipulate you with deceptive propaganda and establish tyranny. How many people have murdered in the name of God or committed heinous crimes in the name of religion, all stemming from their dangerous religious beliefs?
So many people get stumped on this one, and all sorts of horrendous division, judgement, condemnation, war and bloodshed has occurred over it. It takes on various forms: god is on my side (not yours); my god is better than your god; my god is the correct god (not yours); god will favor and reward me (not you), etc.
Let’s reduce it to the basics. What is God? For most people, it’s their idea of the infinite being, the creator of all. Another way of saying this is that God = All That Is. If we literally insert the phrase “All That Is” into sentences that contain “God”, look at the results we get:
God is on my side => All That Is is on my side
How exactly can All That Is be on your side? How can All That Is have any sides? If it did have sides, how could it not be on all sides at the same time? After all, it includes everything.
My god is better than your god => My All That Is is better than your All That Is
How can you have my or your All That Is? How can you possess All That Is? It’s everything, so it belongs equally to everyone, if it is even able to be possessed. Now, you may have an idea of All That Is, which is your idea to hold onto, but that’s just your idea. It’s your perception or understanding of All That Is. It is not All That Is itself. So again, by inserting All That Is, we reduce the sentence to meaninglessness (reductio ad absurdum as they used to say in Latin).
My god is the correct god => My All That Is is the correct All That Is
Like the one above, this becomes nonsensical. How can there be a correct or right All That Is? All That Is is simply All That Is. It just is. It’s neither correct nor incorrect; it’s all of it.
God will favor and reward me => All That Is will favor and reward me
More exclusiveness. I’m “in” and you’re “out”. I’m part of the “in” club, and you are not. This is a powerful delusion and one of the most dangerous religious beliefs. It underpins many of the following religious beliefs.
The very word “religion” is derived from the Latin verb religare, meaning “to bind”. Thus, etymologically, religion describes the binding of oneself with God. Some people such as the founder of the Sufi tradition in the West, Hazrat Inayat Khan, have suggested that each and every human is a religion unto themselves, because of their unique and individualized relationship with the Infinite. (Sufism, by the way, is the Path of the Open Heart, and is inclusively open to anyone of any religion, and is not, as widely believed, a subset of Islam.) There cannot be one true religion, because religion itself is a belief system, a lens, a set of perceptions about what Life and God is. Most people adopt the religion they are born into through coincidence of birth. Life is about remembering and experiencing our own connection with the Infinite, not mentally adopting someone else’s belief system.
Psychologically speaking, humans want to belong and to feel accepted. This primal need is exploited by many religions, and twisted into a compulsion to make themselves right and everyone else wrong. If you’re in the club, and your club is the true and correct one, then by definition, everyone else must be wrong – and sometimes evil too. The non-believer or heretic is not only an outsider, but also someone who doesn’t deserve full moral treatment, and often can be seen as less than human. History has shown us that just by thinking differently and independently, you frequently run the risk of being condemned and killed for your trouble.
There are a plethora of examples of how people outside a certain religion are considered evil. Look at the dreaded Inquisition whose goal was to suppress heresy at any cost. More recently, documents have shown how British 3 year olds were told that non-Jews are “evil” in a Kindergarten worksheet handed out at ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in north London. In the Torah, slaves taken from among outsiders don’t merit the same protections as Hebrew slaves. Islam has the concept of “dhimmitude” which is a set of rules to deal with non-Muslims (monotheists are more highly regarded than polytheists). You can check out these Bible quotes to see what Christianity thinks of non-believers. In the end, it is often simply too much for religions to tolerate the free-thinking non-believer, since he or she threatens the illusion and shows that people can be completely free, happy, kind and content outside of religion.
The idea that “God” has a favorite set of “Chosen People” is another one of these silly yet extremely divisive and dangerous ideas that you find in numerous religions. It is a central tenet of Judaism that Jews are God’s chosen people. The Bible states that Christians are the chosen ones. In the faith of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, there are exactly 144,000 places reserved in Heaven for the chosen people. Calvinism contains the concept of predestination which teaches that a certain special few (God’s elect) are to receive eternal life and salvation by grace, while the rest get eternal damnation for all their sins. In monotheistic religion in general, you are condemned to Hell, eternal damnation or some other kind of imaginary Doom for making the wrong decision in this life for not “believing” in the “official” way it is – according to the supposedly enlightened leaders of those organized religions.
Many of the world’s main religions love to teach that there is something special or magical about their prophet, as opposed to other religions, spiritual paths and traditions, and also as opposed to YOU! This is another example showing that most organized religion is based on separation, not connectedness. Jesus is the ONLY son of God – you are not. The false notion is that all the prophets are not leaders you can emulate, but rather godly beings who you need to put on a pedestal and worship. You can never be as good as they were, because you’re just a dirty little sinner. All this, of course, is in direct contradiction to what Jesus actually said, if we are to believe the Gospel of John 14:12:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”
Greater works than Jesus – I wonder how the Christian censors let that one through!
Many religions achieve power and popularity through psychological trickery. One of the most effective ways to control people is to promise them a better future – especially if that future is an afterlife about which it is difficult to prove anything. By making elaborate and grandiose promises of Heaven-like afterlives – whether they be full of angels, milk and honey, or hundreds of virgins – you can fool people into accepting horrendous conditions in their current lives. You can also stifle people’s motivation to do anything constructive about their situation now. After all, if this life is nothing compared to the pending glorious afterlife, why bother?
Of course, the tendency to deny the (real) now and live in the (imagined and not yet real) future is ego-driven dysfunction and insanity. Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now sums it up best:
“(The ego) constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there. It says: “One day, when this, that, or the other happens, I am going to be okay, happy, at peace.” Even when the ego seems to be concerned with the present, it is not the present that it sees: It misperceives it completely because it looks at it through the eyes of the past. Or it reduces the present to a means to an end, an end that always lies in the mind-projected future. Observe your mind and you’ll see that this is how it works.
The present moment holds the key to liberation.”
There is a place in life for thoughtful planning and long-term thinking, however this is not the issue here. The problem is compulsive thinking and too much attention focused on the past and future, rather than an embracing of the now and the present moment – which is all you truly have anyway.
Invented afterlife notions provide further fodder for the cunning to exploit the foolish. Bribing people with eternal life works well, but conversely, you can also blackmail people with eternal damnation. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and others have all concocted ideas of a fire-and-brimstone Hell-like afterlife, replete with pain, never-ending torture and demons. As Valerie Tarico writes:
“Most Buddhists see hell as a metaphor, a journey into the evil inside the self, but the descriptions of torturing monsters and levels of hell can be quite explicit. Likewise, many Muslims and Christians hasten to assure that it is a real place, full of fire and the anguish of non-believers. Some Christians have gone so far as to insist that the screams of the damned can be heard from the center of the Earth or that observing their anguish from afar will be one of the pleasures of paradise.”
Organized religions such as Catholicism championed an ingenious business model during the Middle Ages, which still persists in various forms to this day. It was the Indulgence System. Indulgences were the right to do evil. If you have the say over what God allows or not, why not make some money off it? As the website Grand Design Exposed states:
“Apparently, the Indulgence System had been a Church tradition since Pope Leo III had begun granting them in the year 800, payable in the money coined by Pope Adrian I in 780 … Indulgences were floated on the Church’s credibility, rather like government bonds are issued on the credibility of states today. In 1491, for example, Innocent VII granted the 20-year Butterbriefe indulgence, by which Germans could pay 1/20th of a guilder for the annual privilege of eating dairy products even while meriting from fasting. The proceeds of the Butterbriefe went to build a bridge at Torgau. Rome’s indulgence economy was as extensive as America’s income tax system today. And it was every bit as fueled by the people’s trembling compliance, voluntarily, to a presumption of liability.”
In 1515 Pope Leo X (whose father happened to be the great Florentine banker Lorenzo de’Medici, of the Venetian Black Nobility) issued a Bull of Indulgence, which authorized a whole array of indulgences:
“(Leo) authoriz(ed) letters of safe conduct to Paradise and pardons for every evil imaginable, from a 25-cent purgatory release (the dead left purgatory the instant one’s coins hit the bottom of the indulgence-salesman’s bucket) to a license so potent that it would excuse someone who had raped the Virgin Mary. For the payment of four ducats, one could be forgiven for murdering one’s father. Sorcery was pardoned for 6 ducats. For robbing a church, the law could be relaxed for only 9 ducats. Sodomy was pardoned for 12 ducats. Half the revenues from Leo’s indulgence went to a fund for the building of St. Peter’s Cathedral, and the other half to paying 40% interest rates on bank loans subsidizing the magnificent works of art and architecture with which His Holiness was establishing Rome as the cultural capital of the Renaissance.”
What a profitable racket! It’s business as usual for the Vatican, who still use the Indulgence System to manipulate people, such as this absurd attempt to get Pope Francis more Twitter followers …
This one is obviously from Christianity, but you may find parallels in other religious doctrines. This one requires a serious perversion of reasonable and clear thinking. Christian doctrine declares something like this:
“We celebrate Christ’s death, because it is only through his death and atoning sacrifice that we are reconciled to God and have forgiveness of sin. Every time we partake of the communion of the bread and cup, we are celebrating the death that purchased our redemption.”
This is utter nonsense – and I mean that literally. It is non-sense. It is completely non-sensical. It requires a suspension of ordinary logic and the adoption of a twisted way of thinking to even try to turn this idea into something resembling a cohesive notion.
First of all, why focus on the bloody and gruesome death of Jesus, when the point of his life was his ability to love unconditionally? This is twisted perversion by turning black into white, reminiscent of Satanism, as covered in the article Are Parts of Organized Religion Satanic?
Secondly, how can a person dying 2000 years ago “pay” for our “sins”? Your own actions, thoughts, feelings and state of being determine your outcome – period. Only you can “redeem” yourself – by forgiving yourself, apologizing to another, and changing your behavior going forward. What Jesus did or didn’t do a long time ago can’t absolve you from the fundamental truth that you are the creator of your own life and destiny. There is nothing to “pay” for, because a real God of Love doesn’t require humans to prostrate down before it and sacrifice themselves.
The word “sin”, by the way, can be better translated as “to miss the mark” or to err, which strips it of all its moral guilt-laden overtones the Catholic Church loves to use on its followers. If you merely make a mistake or error, which every single human does all the time, depending on whom it affected and how it affected them, there may not be anything to “pay” at all for it.
Many of history’s wars and genocides have been fueled by dangerous religious beliefs, including the Christian crusades of the Middle Ages and the many bloody battles recounted in the texts of the Koran and Torah. Even within religious sects there can be a holy war, as can be seen with the constant in-fighting between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Sadly, today we have still not as a species risen above the delusion that war and mass murder can be holy, noble, pious and “the will of God” … although the will of God always seems to be interpreted for us by learned religious scholars and leaders whose word is untouchable. The recent rise of ISIS shows that religion can still be used by some to justify heinous crimes such as large-scale theft (of oil and land), rape and murder.
These 10 dangerous religious beliefs just go to show that most organized religion has long been infected with madness and insanity. The history of religion shows that, overall, it is a highly distorted lens through which to see the world, whatever good it may bring to individual cases. Ultimately, humanity is entering a new era of consciousness where religion and priestly middlemen are no longer necessary. If religion is to survive going forward, it needs to drop all its dangerous religious beliefs, rigid doctrine, stale dogma, sense of superiority and outdated notions in a big hurry – before it becomes an antiquated irrelevance.
Makia Freeman is the editor of The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the global conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance.
Photo Credit: Mizina Oksana
For those who think Christianity a fount of goodness and love, one of the more ironic images in recent weeks has been Christian youth loudly jeering a small group of Satanists who quietly tolerate their hostilities.
The backstory may be familiar: High school coach Joe Kennedy in Bremerton, Washington, turned the football field into a public forum for religious expression by hosting prayers at midfield after games. In response, several religious minority students, including the senior class president, invited prayers from the Satanic Temple of Seattle, a small sect that eschews supernaturalism and opposes state-sponsorship of religion, but places a deep spiritual value on religious equality. Temple members, who don’t believe in Satan except as a potent symbol of rebellion against cruelty and tyranny, requested that they too be allowed to conduct prayers after games.
But this soon became a moot point. Due to Kennedy’s refusal to cease conducting public prayers in his role as a school employee, the district placed him on paid leave—effectively halting public prayers of all sorts. Both Kennedy and the members of the Satanic Temple chose to attend the game as spectators.
Christian fans of Coach Kennedy didn’t take that too well. As members of the Satanic Temple approached the stadium entrance, a crowd gathered on the inside of the fence. Lilith Starr, head of the Seattle chapter describes her experience: “They were screaming at us and some were throwing water. We were really there to support the students who had invited us, but as those students were escorted through the crowd someone was yelling, ‘Dyke!’ and ‘Everybody hates you’ at them. We met the students and hugged them, but we didn’t really want to distract from the game. That was their last home game. So at that point we decided to leave.”
Members of the Bremerton school administration faced similar hostility from Christians who were angry about the suspension of Coach Kennedy, which the right-wing Liberty Counsel called a “hostile employment action.” The calls became so threatening and violent that the students had to be temporarily pulled from phone duty by the district.
Seven Tenets vs. Ten Commandments
While self-righteous or fearful Christians have been busy making themselves and their faith look ugly, Satanists have maintained their equanimity, followed the Golden Rule, and even, in the words of Jesus, “turned the other cheek.” According to Starr, she and fellow practitioners are simply living according to Satanic precepts.
The Satanic Temple, which is based in Massachusetts and has approximately 20 chapters across the U.S., lists its seven fundamental tenets:
Anyone who is familiar with the Ten Commandments will immediately recognize that these seven tenets offer an easier path to equanimity than do the famous Ten. The first of the Ten Commandments—Thou shalt have no other gods before me—asserts the primacy of a single deity rather than the primacy of compassion and empathy. It prescribes competition between religious worldviews, the very antagonism expressed by Christian students in Bremerton and Christian callers from across the country.
More broadly, the seven tenets emphasize positive, pro-social values rather than bad behaviors to be avoided. They largely express egalitarian values that transcend tribal boundaries, in contrast to the Ten Commandments, which endorse the view that women, slaves and livestock are possessions of men. They invite inquiry rather than certitude and individuality over tribalism.
Compassion, Acceptance, Meditation
I asked Starr, the Seattle leader, what attracted her to the Satanic Temple. She said she first became familiar with Satanism through a relationship that has since grown into a marriage. At the time she and her husband met, she was struggling with addiction. Starr said, “Maybe because he was a Satanist or maybe because he was a good person, he was extremely honest and accepting. He didn’t make judgments; he just loved me for who I was. When that happened, I vowed to live a sacred life. I didn’t believe in God, but I vowed to engage in a sacred practice. “
Starr’s leadership in the Seattle Temple is part of that practice. She also says she was formerly a student of Zen Buddhism and still sits for meditation daily. She sees parallels between compassion as the highest value of Buddhism and that same focus in the Satanic Temple, and in fact has laid out this and related values in a manifesto of sorts at the beginning of her book, The Happy Satanist: Finding Self-Empowerment. “I believe that every human being on this planet deserves love, compassion and connection, regardless of their race, religion, class, sexual orientation, gender, or any other meaningless category beyond ‘human being’….I believe compassion and working together will get us much further than judgment, shame and fear.”
If Lilith Starr and fellow members of the Satanic Temple are representative, the greatest threat to Christianity from Satanism may simply be this: that self-proclaimed followers of Satan seem more sane and kind than self-proclaimed followers of Christ.
This fall, Christianity’s brand is being battered but not by the behavior of Christians themselves. Catholic corporations have headed to the Supreme Court again, trying to prevent women from preventing pregnancy. GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson declared on biblical authority that the Egyptian pyramids were actually built to store grain. The Mormon hierarchy issued a formal ruling that baptism and temple initiation (including protective undergarments) would be denied to children of gay couples. Christianists in Houston defeated gender equality legislation by whipping up fear of cross-dressing men lurking in women’s bathrooms. And research went viral showing that children from secular homes are more generous, less prickly and less punitive than children raised under Christian and Muslim parents.
In each case, one or more of the seven precepts of the Satanic Temple would have mitigated against the harmful and self-defeating behavior on public display.
Perhaps Christians should consider upgrading from a set of Ten Commandments that were written in the Iron Age to a better set. It might do wonders for Christianity’s public image—and for its ability to follow the teachings of Jesus himself.